308 Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas Cruise Reviews

After having sailed on Princess, Carnival and the past several times on Disney, we decided to try Royal Caribbean. We decided to try out the Symphony because 1/ it has very high ratings among RC's fleet, 2/ we wanted to see what the ... Read More
After having sailed on Princess, Carnival and the past several times on Disney, we decided to try Royal Caribbean. We decided to try out the Symphony because 1/ it has very high ratings among RC's fleet, 2/ we wanted to see what the world's biggest ship had to offer, and 3/ they ship stopped at islands we hadn't been to before - including RC's own CoCo Cay. We booked an outside balcony cabin on the 10th deck. The price was quite reasonable - certainly quite a bit lower than Disney. Check in was a breeze. We did get on late - choosing to board after the early rush, and also figuring we could manage quite well without the obligatory Day 1 lunch. Entering the ship was kinda uneventful. We barely got a "Hello", with a greater emphasis being on sanitizing our hands - understandable given the outbreak of Corona Virus. We entered on the Promenade 5th deck and then headed to our cabin. initial impression was that the decor lacked any level of luxury or plushness. Yes, it was huge, and very interesting to have a promenade in the middle of a ship, but the decor was kinda tired - like being in a slightly dated hotel or office building. I think they expect your entrance in to a city-like promenade to do the trick. It doesn't!!! ENTERTAINMENT: This is where RC did well. Their main attraction shows were most excellent - certainly gave Disney a run for their money. And there was always something to do for all ages. There were parades on the Promenade and all kinds of music at various venues in the evenings. Solo guitarists, excellent jazz, and a band in the Dazzles bar that could really rock a crowd - and get them to dance. Before we went on this cruise, the reviews indicated that RC did an excellent job with the entertainment, and they certainly lived up to their billing here. CENTRAL PARK: Loved it. So relaxing. Vintage is a good place to get some good wines. However, the open area did tend to get windy and there were always some drops of water splashing down from above. Not sure from where - but it tended to happen even when the sky was clear. However, it's quite amazing to have this large atrium right in the middle of a ship. BOARDWALK: I think this was a bit of a let down, and didn't live up to its billing. The boardwalk leads to the aquatheatre, but apart from that, and a bar and hot dog restaurant, there's really no reason to be there. It was rather dead most of the time. FOOD: THIS was a massive let down. This ship has a ton of specialty restaurants. Having done these kinds of specialty restaurants on other cruise lines, we just figured these would not be worth the extra cost - since the main dining hall would always have something worth trying. I will add that we are big time foodies, who usually eat at anywhere from 125-175 restaurants a year - including some of the world's Top 50 restaurants. The food at the Main Dining room was completely substandard. We chose the Any Time Dining option - which was good for us. While it did mean a different serving crew every evening, in general they were pretty good - not great, but good. However, 1 evening it was so bad that for the first time in 10 cruises, I felt compelled to complain to the section manager. The waiter took 14 mins to even bring us a menu, and did not bother to introduce herself or even apologize for the significant delay. when it came time to take our order, she simply came to us and said, 'SO, what can I get you!". May be she was stressed, however, not only had we been patient all the while, but she was extremely cheerful with her other tables. Her manager noticed this behavior and tried to step in to make up for that. But the damage had been done. It took them 35 mins to get our appetizers, and an hour and 20 mins to bring our entree. To top it off, the food was inedible - and I ended up leaving most of my food. I thought I'd head over to the buffet and get some food, but by then even the buffet had closed. I ended up with a sandwich from one of the cafes. After 2 days of sub-par food at the main dining hall, we decided to try 3 of the specialty restaurants. Despite there being so many restaurants on board, there was only 1 that was really worth trying - the rest being rather generic - something that some of the other patrons who visited some of the restaurants told us. Simultanenously we dicovered that the buffet at dinner offered several ethnic options - and so we started going there for dinner - and canceled our 3 restaurant packae. Apart from the fact that the food in the main dining hall was low quality, the variety was even worse. They had the same, bland continental food every single day. Ridiculous! The only optional variety was the option to ask for some indian food. Upon further reflection, it's almost like the main dining option is designed to push you to their specialty restaurants. Not a good idea. When it comes to Indian food, there was always some indian food available at the buffet for all 3 meals of the day. The taste was not particularly great - which is surprising considering the executive chef for the whole ship was Indian - and would typically have had 5-star hotel training in India - where the food standards tend to be high. One evening in the buffet they served Caribbean food - which, while flavorful was a bit bland. And finally on the last day they had a chinese noodle station - where alls you could get is noodles. For such a large ship, the options for food without having to pay extra were not the greatest. RC certainly failed here. The late night food was decent - but got a little boring after a few days due to the lack of any variety. Desserts - easily the poorest and most unimaginative dessert selection of any cruise line we have done. The items were pretty much the same every day, and just loaded with cream - and extremely 'mild' flavors - what I mean by that is that if you didn't read the label of the dessert, you'd be left wondering if there was actually any flavor, let alone what it was. When we got home today, I made the family Molten Chocolate cake from the frozen Costco stuff. Even my kids said the frozen stuff at home tasted better than what they had on the ship. CoCo Cay - not bad. never felt crowded. But the island isn't too big. Disney's Castaway Cay is in a different league in terms of size and atmosphere than this island. Even NCL's island next door seemed to be significantly larger. CoCo is still being built out, and you can make out certainly sections have just been gotten ready - as everything seems to have a 'recently planted' look. Our kids used the water park, and really enjoyed it. I would suggest springing for that. I toyed with the idea of getting a cabana or bed....however, at $1000 for a bed for a day for 2 adults it simply wasn't worth it. If you have a large party, then it might be worth the cost. But the, a number of reviews said that lounge chairs were easily available. And frankly, that was plenty. Didn't see the cabanas or beds being worth the expense - even when we were on the island. So, I think we made a good call there. The food on the island was in line with the set expectations - bland and boring. They certainly had good choices and options - but the food was bland - even the Mexican food. When it comes to drinks, the options available were good. We bought the unlimited drinks package, and even though we didn't do justice to the cost, it was a headache-free option. The drinks were pretty good, and the bartenders accommodating and friendly. WiFi- we bought a package for multiple devices. The connections were good and strong - on the ship as well as on CoCo Cay. Worth the cost. Photo Package - we bought an unlimited photo package. This was a bit of a let down as the photographers were very few and rarely available. They were set up every evening in the Promenade - but rarely available at other locations - including at dinner and CoCo Cay. We didn't do any shore excursions thru the ship. We've done so many islands thru other cruises and vacations that at this point, they all are pretty much the same - and so we prefer to go to the beach and just relax. In St. Kitts we went to the Marriott - as we were told the beach is safe. The beach was OK - uncrowded, but the resort isn't up to usual Marriott standards. At St. Thomas, we decided to take a private tour of the island. We took a taxi tour of the island, and for a coupla hours it was just right. We should have done the beaches on this island - but didn't have time. Maegen's breach is certainly worth the trip and cost. Spa/health club - didn't use the spa, but it looked pretty standard. The work out center was also pretty standard. Casino - a LOT of slots, but not enough of Blackjack tables. Dealers were not too friendly. Maybe they were stressed out about Corona. The one thing we should have done was get The Key. Not knowing what it provided, we ignored it prior to the cruise. Then when we tried to get it onboard, they told us that it wasn't available as it had to be bought prior to the cruise. While I'm not entirely sure what all this "Key" offers, from the little I learnt, it certainly seemed to be worth the expense - at least to us - at $32/person/day. Not cheap, but the privileges would have been worth it. HIGHLIGHTS: 1. The big ticket shows - most excellent! I would put them in the league of good Broadway productions 2. Music - excellent options, and went on late in to the night 3. Promenade and Central Park LOWS: 1. Food 2. Food 3. Friendly, but not warm service Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Every time we have cruised on oasis, allure, and now symphony, we are amazed at the quality and excellence of the shows provided! Enjoyed dinner in the coastal kitchen from jr suite catagory, but very offended and disappointed that rccl ... Read More
Every time we have cruised on oasis, allure, and now symphony, we are amazed at the quality and excellence of the shows provided! Enjoyed dinner in the coastal kitchen from jr suite catagory, but very offended and disappointed that rccl has decided to stick diamond plus cruisers in a zero view basement room!!!!! terrible reward for being loyal to royal! Also hate it when the ship has no outdoor unobstructed oceanfront covered deck for walking or jogging. Loved watching the robots fixing drinks! Johnny rocket's hamburgers were great!! Unfortunately, each of speciality restaurants we extremely loud the entire meal! none were worth the additional fees and i doubt that we will do those again. Perfect day at coco cay was nice at the private club but too cold to enjoy the day we were there. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This is my family’s 3rd cruise with RC. We have done Oasis, Anthem and now Symphony. First THE GOOD. as usual, the dining room staff are terrific in the MDR as well as the Wydjammer. My wife has Celiac and they have treated her with so ... Read More
This is my family’s 3rd cruise with RC. We have done Oasis, Anthem and now Symphony. First THE GOOD. as usual, the dining room staff are terrific in the MDR as well as the Wydjammer. My wife has Celiac and they have treated her with so much kindness and consideration to make sure she has adequate food choices. Our waiter Marlon at table 301, allows her to pick her meals the night before so they can be specially made. The head waiter also helps out a lot during dinner and breakfast. In general the food Has been good , but maybe not “as good” as in the past. I didn’t get the Alcohol Package so I don’t drink As much so bartenders don’t seem as friendly this time around . But maybe it’s just because l’m not as drunk ? IDK But my BIGGEST COMPLAINT is there is wayyyy to Much dead time doing nothing. On other cruises there was ALWAYS ALWAYS something fun going on. On this cruise , with the exception of the big shows (Hairspray , hiro , 1977 Etc the choice are few , repetitive and boring. It’s pretty much trivia, karaoke, Latin fiesta 500 times a day, the same band playing in different spots, dance lessons and bingo. And mostly everything seems to be right around dinner time or start super late. So you have this lull of time from like 2-530 and then from Like 630-10. Other cruises there was ALWAYS somethings. They had a Journey cover band. They had a magician. They had this awesome singer who could imitate any genre of music. And this was in addition to Spectras cabaret, and the main show and just multiple games shows And a VARIETY of bands. Not the same band every night in a different spot and or “Latin fiesta” we’ve been bored every day Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I was with a tour group of about 300 people. LGBT “bears” (large and hairy men) from a tour operator named “Arno”. This was my second cruise. The first one was at Carnival Pride, with a similar but smaller group called “Daddy ... Read More
I was with a tour group of about 300 people. LGBT “bears” (large and hairy men) from a tour operator named “Arno”. This was my second cruise. The first one was at Carnival Pride, with a similar but smaller group called “Daddy Cruise”. The ship was amazing and huge. Very clean and they had sanitization stations everywhere. Embarkation was quick and simple at the home port and every other one. Leaving the ship was super quick as they just did facial recognition. I hate kids/teenagers. The adult area is nice and in front of the ship. Much larger than Carnival Pride, which is in the back. Only bads: the menu in main dining barely changes the whole trip. They want you to pay for premium dining. Carnival was different every day and very good. So we did. Wonderland was awful, slow, too long. Sushi was ok, but nothing special. Nice gym but no saunas or steam rooms unless you pay. Saunas and steam room were separated by gender and free on Carnival. may be the largest ship in the world but still the ocean is much larger. Last day, the ship was shaking and vibrating and jumping. We got warned in advance but still was unnerving. If you though the size meant it would move less... no luck. The adult area is nice and in front of the ship. Much larger than Carnival Pride, which is in the back. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I booked this cruise last year in Feb 2019 while on the Harmony of the Seas. I also got to have 32 Family & Friends join us. I booked this cruise specifically as it was a newer ship and sister of the HOS (which my husband and I enjoyed ... Read More
I booked this cruise last year in Feb 2019 while on the Harmony of the Seas. I also got to have 32 Family & Friends join us. I booked this cruise specifically as it was a newer ship and sister of the HOS (which my husband and I enjoyed tremendously). I booked 13 Boardwalk Balconies primarily for the extra perks that were being offered at the time for this cabin. Embarkation: traffic was a mess getting in however once checked-in we were on the ship by 11am. Disembarkation: went smoothly as well... ate breakfast in the MDR, picked up our bags, went through customs... probably only took 30 minutes... mom forgot her walker in cabin so waited a little longer outside... Ship: most of our group were first time cruisers and I wish I would have recorded the awestruck look on all of their faces. The ship is beautiful. Cabin: we all booked Boardwalk Balconies and they were spacious. We all enjoyed the views and people watching. As long as balcony door was closed shut you couldn’t hear any noise from the outside. Dining: SOS sat us each night in the same 4 tables. The group was suppose to alternate tables within the 4 but everyone loved their waiters so much that they never wanted to switch tables. Lol Entertainment; Hiro was amazing. The whole group was very entertained including the children. Hairspray was great however one of the cast members got ill so they ended it early. 1977 was really cool to watch. Never got to see Flight but will see it on the next cruise that’s planned for Aug 2021. The late night DJ played everything and the whole group of all ages enjoyed the music. The Latin group at Boleros has everyone dancing. The Caribbean Band has all of us singing and dancing as well. The group of 34 consisted of couples, families with teenagers and young adults. One of my biggest concerns was if there was going to be activities to entertain the Young adults and children and let me just say they were the ones who convinced their parents to rebook for next year. Some of us did get a little seasick the last day and even than we ALL had a great time and now 52+ ChiTown Cruisers are booked for next year. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I just disembarked the Symphony of the seas and spent an amazing 7 nights aboard this beautiful ship. On-board & off boarding : The new terminal is beautiful and the process was so seamless. We were on-board in no time and off ... Read More
I just disembarked the Symphony of the seas and spent an amazing 7 nights aboard this beautiful ship. On-board & off boarding : The new terminal is beautiful and the process was so seamless. We were on-board in no time and off boarding was a breeze they have facial recognition software too so it’s very easy and time saving. The crew aboard the symphony of the seas really goes out of their way to make simple amazing. The food is good however when compared with NCL they seems to lag but definitely better than other cruise lines. This cruise we selected 2 inside vs 1 balcony however did the royal up on 1 cabin and got a ocean view. The cabin faced the front of the ship and was really nice however a bit noise for docking purposes when we arrived at a port early. The ports we visited were - Hondorus, Costa maya Cozumel and. Cococay. While 3/4 ports we visited before. Hondorus - ok port has very few shops. The alcohols here was the cheapest at duty free and we missed a good deal. Costa maya - the port has a nice area with tons of shops restaurants and bars - swim up bar. So pool and chairs as well. Normally there is a shuttle to the gate but this time there was none. This is a really long pier and long walk to the ship. Cozumel. Normally I would say this is my favorite however not so as this ship docked at a different area from where NCL docks. So this port was not that nice. It seems that they are building some shopping malls but they are not complete. Research which port the ship is docking as there a 3 docking ports. Cococay- omg. So pretty. Really nice. There was a shuttle to take you to the gate of the island park and another tram that takes you around the island. Tons of beach chairs in different areas. Small area with shops, complimentary buffet and snack areas. This is a good selection for family with kids and certainly a good option provided by royal Caribbean. Check out my you tube video perfect day cococay tram ride. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Go to your nearest Mall. Double the price of coffee, triple the price of beverages, then add sociopathic security guards who enforce confiscatory policies by leveraging safety to take money from you. Examples include the policy that ... Read More
Go to your nearest Mall. Double the price of coffee, triple the price of beverages, then add sociopathic security guards who enforce confiscatory policies by leveraging safety to take money from you. Examples include the policy that you can't wash your bathing suit, because doing your laundry is unsafe (safety is $35 a bag for wash service), video games involving balance on a fake boogie board that are "unsafe" for my gymnast daughter but safe for her 53 year old dad (so they can sign him up for a wristwatch promo) or confusing embarkation beverage policy which results in having to buy their onboard beverage package ... nope I am not an alcoholic, don't need $500 + in booze sold to my suite mates. The irony of Royal Caribbean's use of "safety" to fleece customers is that Royal Caribbean operates under Bahamian law specifically so it can avoid US safety and labor regulations. As to the rest of the cruise. Like most high end malls and hotels, it has good architecture and design. Like most theme parks the good stuff is crowded and Royal Caribbean seems to attract aggressive customers who will run over your kids for their third helping of dessert, and save all the seats in the auditorium for whatever you want to see. The shows are actually good, even by Disney standards. Why they build tiny theaters on ships with a 6,000 capacity is simply because they want to say they have the feature offered, not that you will get to enjoy it. At it's core, Royal Caribbean is just a bad company. These policies, the cheap food, the repetitive onboard music, the broken coffee machines, the constant $50 and $100 per person because you are in their monopoly hell; it a senior management issue. They are focused on extracting revenue, not providing value for their customers. It is a miserable experience to be their victims for a week. So bad, I may book a flight home out of Cancun and simply get out of this mall. This is our tenth cruise. Can not wait for it to be over. Disney is just so much better (with a smaller capital expense, they simply treat their guests as guests instead of chumps to be targeted for corporate theft) Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We travel with an adult cruise group. We have an excellent Travel Agent who sets us up on the newest and best ships of Royal Caribbean. We were on the Symphony last year for Super Bowl. This year we were a little skeptical because it was ... Read More
We travel with an adult cruise group. We have an excellent Travel Agent who sets us up on the newest and best ships of Royal Caribbean. We were on the Symphony last year for Super Bowl. This year we were a little skeptical because it was winter break for school age kids. We thought it was going to be wall to wall people. The Symphony can handle crowds!!!! We had absolutely no problems with anything. The ship is beautiful. So many things to do. So many great spots to hang out. The only thing missing is an adult only pool. The Harmony has one but the Symphony does not. My favorite part of the ship is the Trellis Bar in Central Park. Our cabin was in a PERFECT spot!!! We had a balcony cabin on the Aft right off the elevators. It wasn't noisy at all. It was so convenient. Highly recommend the 8th floor for all couples. Traveling with kids you will want the highest deck you can get. It will just be a lot easier for the pool and dining. The cabin itself 8262 is nice and it has plenty of storage. The dining was the best I have had on all my cruises. We did not have one bad meal! *Windjammer was great!!! I typically hate buffets. We never had a problem getting a seat. There were sooo many choices!!! We ate there for one breakfast and one dinner. *Solarium Nice atmosphere, food choices great but windjammer had much more. Service great. We ate here for lunch on a sea day. *Main Dining Room....My Time Dining... Awesome...Lamb Chops!!!!! Delicious Lobster!!!! Great Service We had dinner there 4 nights. 2 nights we had reservations 2 nights we did not. We had no issues getting a table. We also ate in the Main Dining Room for an outstanding brunch on Day 6. *El Loco Fresh....Great little Mexican buffet off the pool deck. We had lunch there on the first day. *Playmakers...Great wings... We had lunch on a sea day there. The Goal Post Margaritas were very good. *Hooked Seafood....Outstanding!!! We had dinner there the first night. We only made it to the Comedy Show. We enjoyed it. We did not have reservations but did not have any trouble getting in. We also enjoyed the Live Music and dancing at Dazzles. We had the drink package. Well worth the money. Service...Outstanding!!!! Every day, every where we went!!!! The only day is was a little crazy was when The Port of Costa Maya was basically closed. The crew was not prepared for a sea day. 5000 people got off the ship then came right back on. The staff was in MayDay Mode! LOL Within an hour the staff came through. I'm sure they were to have the afternoon off but everyone rallied and took great care of all of us. Special shout outs to outstanding staff members.... Our cabin attendant...Iputu Antara Hooks our waiter...Jhun My favorite spot on the ship with outstanding service Trellis Bar...Samuel, Lucan, and Karen Coco Cay...Amar and Vincent..The Beach Club Ports... Roatan...Our Travel Agent arranged to have a Nurse from an orphanage meet us off the ship and we gave her back packs filled with school supplies...This was the high light of my cruise. Then we went to a beach resort for the day. Costa Maya...We had a beach club booked called YaYa Club. They gave us a full refund because the taxis were on strike. 5 stars to YaYa for the full refund!!! Cozumel....Our Travel Agent arranged a private catamaran sailing and snorkeling trip. Again... a great day!!!! Coco Cay...A Perfect Day......Outstanding!!!!! We paid extra for the Beach Club. This area is brand new. Nice lounge areas, beds, pool, shade, but lunch was the high light and a bonus because we had no idea at the luxury it was going to be!!!!! The filet was THE BEST I EVER HAD!!!! And my husband is a chef!!!! That says a lot!!! They served whole lobster, and a Lobster burger that is a must after the filet!!!! We also enjoyed playing the games in the sport center. We did not do the Thrill Park but we did hear that the lines were long but that is typical for any water park. * Wifi Worth it!!! Embarkation and Disembarkation smooth as silk Summary....We had an awesome time!!!! little tips....Bring your thermal drink cup to the pool and excursions.... keeps your drinks cold You do not need towels for Coco Cay if you're at the Beach Club. They have nice towels there. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We travelled on the Symphony of the seas Feb.15-22,2020 It is a beautiful ship but not much you get for free except your room and some food. Every fine dining is extra dollars , every drink ( pop and alcohol) is extra and any fitness ... Read More
We travelled on the Symphony of the seas Feb.15-22,2020 It is a beautiful ship but not much you get for free except your room and some food. Every fine dining is extra dollars , every drink ( pop and alcohol) is extra and any fitness class you want to take is also money,money,money. Would be nice if they at least let all the guests have free wifi so you could message family on the ship. We are from Canada so for all of us to pay their internet package would of been over $600. Ship is super clean and service is great and friendly . The windjammer has awesome food and the dining room has great menus . The ice show is a must to see and Aqua Show (Hiro) We did great tours at the ports .. Sloths and monkeys in Honduras is a must and the cenotes in Cozumel are amazing. Over all we had a great week but did get tired of the soliciting at the ports and wish they gave a few more free options on the ship Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
The ship was not our choice, we were in a group and the organizer always uses Royal,. Embarkation was fast and easy aside from sitting in the terminal waiting to board. Self -assist off the ship was quick and easy, 15 minutes or ... Read More
The ship was not our choice, we were in a group and the organizer always uses Royal,. Embarkation was fast and easy aside from sitting in the terminal waiting to board. Self -assist off the ship was quick and easy, 15 minutes or less from the time we started till we were outside. The ship was too large for our taste, our cabin was 7600, middle/middle so everything was a long walk. Elevators were a mob scene just like every other cruise; this is # 11, we've done Carnival and Celebrity. The MDR food was very good, service was excellent. We ate there twice as 8pm was our time and that's too late. We ate at Hooked, the seafood restaurant and service was superb and the whole lobster was excellent. However, several others said they went there late in the evening and the lobster was not good. We think they cooked it all ahead of time so since we were at first slot of the night that might be a possibility. The buffet was not nearly as good as Celebrity buffet. There was never an omelet station at breakfast, very little variety from day to day. On the evening when there was crab claws, they did not have the cracker tool. We saw several people give up and let it go to waste. There was no outdoor seating for the buffet, unlike Celebrity. There were LOTS of kids, and they often seemed to be charging around with no parental supervision. More than once we saw near-collisions with kids and elderly folks with a cane or walker. One aggravation was that on deck 7 at the Aft elevator, there was no way to pass from port to starboard side, one had to go up one or down one to cross over. Staff was friendly and very attentive. The solarium did not have a swimming pool, just a small 3ft deep pool with benches around the perimeter; all one could do was sit. The hot tubs were not hot but that's true of all the cruises we've done. Only one day was there an open towel station in the Solarium. We did not do any shows so no comment. There was no dedicated Piano bar just like Celebrity. I did one ship excursion to a Mayan ruin, it went well. I also did an excursion on my own. The Promenade and Central Park were nice but the flooring in Central Park was very slippery when wet, which was often. We purchased a wrist band to use instead of the ship card but ended up needing the card at times and every time we got on or off the ship. What's the point? Overall it was good, it WAS a cruise! Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Let me preface this by saying we took a RCCL cruise on Anthem of the Seas last fall (2019) to Canada and New England; and, our experience was terrific. The crew was friendly, the ship offered plenty of activities planned to keep us busy, ... Read More
Let me preface this by saying we took a RCCL cruise on Anthem of the Seas last fall (2019) to Canada and New England; and, our experience was terrific. The crew was friendly, the ship offered plenty of activities planned to keep us busy, many food choices (non-premium), excellent shows, and the music offered was varied/enjoyable. Now fast forward about 6 months to our cruise on the Symphony of the Seas. The crew was not outgoing or friendly, the were fewer activities planned for us (even though it is a larger ship), less food choices (non-premium choices), sub-par shows, and many services seemed less organized (one night in the main dining room, our server was so frustrated at the slow service that he pointedly asked us to say on the survey that it was management's fault, not the servers!). Just 1 small example of the difference: Athem cycled 2 comedians during the 7 night cruise, while Symphony only had 1 the entire time. It was as though the crew expected us to be entertained by the ship itself, rather than them needing to entertain us. Yes, it is an amazing ship in terms of size and engineering, but the crew and activities are what make or break a cruiser's experience. In short, we will not take another cruise on the largest of RCCL's ships. In contrast, we will absolutely look for another one on the Anthem (or another cruise line). It is a shame that there was no consistency. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have enjoyed Regent , and Celebrity, but wanted to take 3 young grandchildren who would not like those sort of boats. The Symphony on board activities attracted us, and we could get a suite for all 8 of us, the itinerary was incidental ... Read More
We have enjoyed Regent , and Celebrity, but wanted to take 3 young grandchildren who would not like those sort of boats. The Symphony on board activities attracted us, and we could get a suite for all 8 of us, the itinerary was incidental as we wanted to use the rock climbing wall, zipline, hot tubs, pools, table tennis, slides, and see ice show. So my agent persuaded us to go on this ship which he has enjoyed which he had enjoyed with his family. The Embarkation process for suite guests at Miami is excellent, we were sitting down for lunch in Coastal Kitchen at 11.30 . It is very good with great waiting staff but the adults who have enjoyed Luminae on all the Celebrity ships agreed the food on Royal Caribbean is not as good as on Celebrity, that applied to Windjammer buffet as well . which is badly managed, they cannot organise the crowds trying to eat there. Our Grand Suite for 8 was excellent, huge and with large balcony. THe attendant Erwin was really good. Naturally we recognised his service privately before the rude letter and envelope from the Concierges arrived asking for extra tips for themselves, never had that on any other ship. We had $1000 enforced gratuity already added to bil, no complaints but all 5 adults agreed the concierges deserved no tip at all, indeed compared with concierges on Celebrity they are lazy and little use. THe ICE shows are amazingly good. Cococay was much better than expected but it is expensive , we spent a further $1000 for activities on island.They have done a good job . Puerto Rico was also better than had thought it would be. Internet worked well. The Garden deck 8 pleasant. Diamond Club a cave. Suites Lounge good Disembarkation for suite guests excellent, we were driving away from port 9 15. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our 14th cruise (all with RCL). It was definitely the easiest getting on and off a boat we have experienced. This is a big beautiful boat but with that being said, was probably the worse cruise we have experienced. No matter ... Read More
This was our 14th cruise (all with RCL). It was definitely the easiest getting on and off a boat we have experienced. This is a big beautiful boat but with that being said, was probably the worse cruise we have experienced. No matter where you went on the boat you could smell cigarette smoke (which was mainly from the casino on the 4th deck). The casino doors were right across from the dining room and the smoke smell was so strong while you were waiting to get into the dining room. It was a constant smell on the elevators no matter what floor. We probably experienced the worse food on all our cruises. We had dinner 2 nights in Chops and 1 night in the Seafood Restaurant. We did have a nice dinner at the Seafood Restaurant. We have eaten at the Chops restaurant on at least 5 or 6 other ships and this was by far the worse food. The quality of the food on this boat was definitely a topic of conversation throughout the week from the people on the boat. We also paid for the Wi FI but it didn't work the majority of the time. Come on RCL you can do better than this. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I can’t stress enough how wonderful this ship was. So much to do, very clean and the staff all seemed to enjoy their jobs. It has 20 restaurants and lots of bars. The entertainment was exceptional from the Aqua Theatre, the theatre, ... Read More
I can’t stress enough how wonderful this ship was. So much to do, very clean and the staff all seemed to enjoy their jobs. It has 20 restaurants and lots of bars. The entertainment was exceptional from the Aqua Theatre, the theatre, lounges right down to the comedians. All of staff we encountered were very friendly and well trained. All of our questions were answered quickly and professionally. Our room steward, Viola was a joy and we never had to ask for a thing. She brought us ice and fresh wine glasses twice a day. Our only complaint was the up-charges of the specialty restaurants and the price of drinks. We were worried about going on a ship that held so many passengers, but to be honest, it seemed easier than other ships we have been on. Embarkation was a piece of cake and getting off and on was a breeze. Disembarkation was easy from the ship, but the port of Miami was a nightmare. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Family cruise, 1st cruise for 5yrs old granddaughter. Connecting central park balcony cabins made cruising together extra easy and fun EXCEPT bad design for pool overflow drainage pipe runs just outside cabin and can be heard during ... Read More
Family cruise, 1st cruise for 5yrs old granddaughter. Connecting central park balcony cabins made cruising together extra easy and fun EXCEPT bad design for pool overflow drainage pipe runs just outside cabin and can be heard during slightly rougher weather when it's not rough enough to drain pool, even several decks down from the pool. Crew is phenomenal except for overworked mdr staff, in what now seems to be a common theme across both Royal and Celebrity ships. More and more items are prepared to reduce any additional service that was such a nice touch and went a long way to making the experience special. For example, souffles served in plastic ramekins with the sauce on the side, same little plastic sauce cups with mint jelly on the plate with rack of lamb. Probably a good thing though since your Walter and assistant waiter aren't available since they're assigned too many tables. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My family and I choose "Bacular Fort and 7 Colors Lagoon". The description of the activities sounded great. It lasted 6 hours. The ride to the Lagoon was 90 minutes. Fine. However, our tour guide told us nothing of the area or ... Read More
My family and I choose "Bacular Fort and 7 Colors Lagoon". The description of the activities sounded great. It lasted 6 hours. The ride to the Lagoon was 90 minutes. Fine. However, our tour guide told us nothing of the area or history. We arrived and changed into bathing suits. A boat took us to two spots in the lagoon for those who were interested to take a dip. Again, no explanation by the driver of the boat except when to get back on. Lunch was fair. It was similar to food truck fare. Drinks were to be purchased. We were told that we were leaving area and there would be a short bus ride to the fort. When we got to the fort, the guide told us not to enter because we have only 20 minutes. All we could do was look around the outside and snap a few photos. There was no narrative on the 90 minute ride back and not a word about the history of the fort. The excursion was the most disappointing of the trip. Other aspects of the cruise were great. I literally checked in and got onboard in 8 minutes. The food and dining room service was good. My cabin attendant cleaned to perfection. I exited the ship in a timely manner. The production shows were Hairspray and Flight. Both were well done. The skating show was spectacular as well as the water show. Although the ship is large, it only seemed crowded on the first day. There was adequate opportunity to get in line for the zip line and slides. The gym was not crowded so you were able to use the machines each day. The walking track on deck 5 is invaluable for exercise at sea. It was an excellent cruise except for the one disappointing excursion. I will travel again with RC but be careful to read comments before scheduling excursions. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Symphony of the Seas is probably a decent ship for kids. But this cruise is loud, noisy, truly terrible main dining room food, and not worth the trouble. I have been on other royal Caribbean cruises that were better. Princess is a ... Read More
Symphony of the Seas is probably a decent ship for kids. But this cruise is loud, noisy, truly terrible main dining room food, and not worth the trouble. I have been on other royal Caribbean cruises that were better. Princess is a better cruise line. The show Hairspray was five star excellent!!!! . The bars have great bartenders! But the gym has old dangerous awful- poor equipment. Our Roatan excursion was cancelled due to rainy weather. We were not given a choice of how to reschedule. So we took a great private tour cruise to shore company. The bionic bar serves up very strong drinks and the bartenders are good on the ship. The rooms are very nice but our attendant went into my closet and took hangers out. I told him nicely the next day not to go into my closet again and he was very nice about it. I just think they charge extra for so many things to do on board that I wondered what my $2500 cruise did cover. I do not recommend this ship unless you have children who love playing in water or taking the carousel. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My wife and I cruised on the Symphony of the Seas in January 2019 to the Western Caribbean. This was our 27th cruise overall, 11th on Royal, 4th on their mega ships. We are in our 60’s and usually cruise to a more interesting location as ... Read More
My wife and I cruised on the Symphony of the Seas in January 2019 to the Western Caribbean. This was our 27th cruise overall, 11th on Royal, 4th on their mega ships. We are in our 60’s and usually cruise to a more interesting location as we’ve cruised the Caribbean too much. However, she attended a conference on this cruise so we had no choice on location or timing. Overall it was a good cruise but not great which is why I gave it 4 stars. There were two main issues: First, the weather was poor which is expected this time of year and not the cruise lines fault. Be aware of Caribbean cruises in mid-Dec to mid-Feb as you are likely to encounter rain and strong winds. Departing Miami we had rough seas for a couple days, got rained out at Roatan (most excursions cnx), okay weather in Costa Maya, windy in Cozumel, and very windy at Coco Cay so most activities there were cnx. Second, we felt Royal is eliminating or reducing items that were free before and now make you pay extra for the same thing. Also known as “nickel & diming you to death!” This first occurred on boarding where we looked forward to a peaceful lunch in the dining room to avoid the crowds at the buffet, only to find that the only dining room lunch available was for “Key members” who paid an extra fee of $25 per day for perks including lunch on first day and reserved seating at shows, etc – which takes away seating from us little people. Then we found the Windjammer buffet stopped at 9:15pm every night, normally it’s 10 or 11pm, so you have to go to their very limited Café Promenade or pizza place OR order room service at $7 plus fee if you want a snack late at night. In room TV is now extremely limited with a few channels with obscure tv shows or very old movies as they want you to buy the On Demand pay movies. Final expense we didn’t appreciate was the specialty restaurants now are $50ish per person. We ate at Chops and it was fine but not as good as we’ve had and certainly not worth $53! EMBARKATION – We drove to Miami and parked in the garage next to the pier for $25, pricey but very convenient. You drive up until you find the porters (on level 4 that day), drop off your bags, then park. Walk over to terminal, go thru checkin line, then security. Although a little crowded at noon, we were thru and on the ship in 20 minutes. You do not get your room key until you board the ship, it’s in an envelope outside your cabin. If you charge drinks, etc, you show your boarding pass until you get your key card. SHIP – Symphony OTS is a beautiful ship as it’s only 2 years old. As with our earlier cruises on these mega ships, there is a lot to do and activities for all ages. The crew and staff were outstanding and very friendly and helpful. Even with the windy weather the ship did not rock that much. We had a full load of 6,000 plus passengers but there were lots of quiet areas - our favorite was Central Park on Deck 8 CABIN – We were in a balcony cabin on deck 11 forward. The cabin seemed larger than previous mega ships, definitely longer as we had a king bed and a full size couch. They’ve added storage and two separate wardrobes with hangers, very nice. Plenty of electric plugs. The shower is also larger. Our room steward was very good and gave us extra towels, soap bars, and shampoo as needed. DINING – We had early fixed dining at 5:30pm with the conference group which worked well. Late dining was at 8pm. They also had a room for anytime dining but we heard no comments on it. We prefer fixed dining as the servers seem better because they know your preferences and the food arrives quicker. Our waiter and assistant were superb. Overall the food was good, even beef options were tasty, but the menu was somewhat limited as there were only 3-4 new choices each night plus 5 standard choices. Lobster tails were served on the second formal night. Formal nights are now more business casual as you only need a collared shirt, no coat or tie. OTHER FREE DINING – We ate in Park Café (Deck 8) and El Loco Fresh (Deck 15) quite a bit. Park Café has been expanded so there was always seating available. It has breakfast sandwiches and pastries and then salads and great roast beef sandwiches rest of the day. El Loco Fresh is outdoors in the aft area by sports activities and has a limited breakfast buffet and then a great Mexican buffet rest of the day. We really enjoyed El Loco! Café Promenade and Sorrento’s Pizza (Deck 5) were okay but I found the sandwiches a little odd and the pizza just okay. Windjammer buffet was always crowded and the choices were limited compared to other cruise line buffets. Also they did not have omelet stations for breakfast unless you went to the dining room for brunch. DIAMOND CLUB – This was our first Royal cruise where we were Diamond status and thus could use the Diamond lounge on Deck 4. We really enjoyed it. Although not a large room, it is very comfortable and was never crowded for happy hour. Happy hour was 4:30 – 8pm where you got unlimited drinks in the lounge plus 3 free drinks at bars and dining room. Drinks were well drinks, although they made martinis, cosmos, and margaritas in the lounge, wine by the glass, beer, and sodas. ENTERTAINMENT – Symphony had the best shows of any ship we’ve been on. Hairspray and Flight were outstanding in the main theater. 1977 was a great ice show and Hiro the very energizing water show. Very important tip – make your show reservations online before the cruise - they were available 45 days prior for our cruise. You can also make reservations onboard using the Royal app but they book up quickly. If you do not make reservations you will be in long lines hoping to get seats just before the show times. We also went to the Comedy Club but found the comedians average. SPORTS – Symphony, like the other mega ships, offers many recreational options. I like the large gym and long jogging track (Deck 5). There are four full size pools, a kids area with water slides, adult pool in Solarium up front, and many jacuzzis. In aft on Deck 15 they have 2 flow riders, basketball court, short zip line, and new slide Ultimate Abyss. You wear street clothes on Abyss and sit on a mat when you slide - surprisingly the lines were not long for this. One more complaint about the free items disappearing is the flow riders have a lot of time allocated to people who pay for private lessons and reserved times so free riding time is limited. WIFI – We bought one Voom Surf plan for the week, that’s the slower plan than the Surf & Stream plan. Buy it online before the cruise as it’s cheaper. We had connectivity thru the ship but it was slower in our cabin. My wife and I shared the one plan by logging in & out with each device. ROYAL APP – I downloaded the free Royal app before the cruise and found it helpful on the ship. It has the daily planner as well as the activities we’d booked already. You can also check your onboard charges and make reservations for excursions and shows. DEBARKATION – Very smooth and quick. Unless you declare customs, you get your bags and walk out of the terminal. There was a face scan station which apparently took care of immigration. Took our bags to the parking garage and drove off. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We are a puertorrican family composed by mom (47), dad (48), daughters (19 and 21). In January 2 we fly from Puerto Rico to Ft Lauderdale, to board Symphony of the Seas on January 4. We stay in Hampton Inn Coconut Groove/Coral Gables, a ... Read More
We are a puertorrican family composed by mom (47), dad (48), daughters (19 and 21). In January 2 we fly from Puerto Rico to Ft Lauderdale, to board Symphony of the Seas on January 4. We stay in Hampton Inn Coconut Groove/Coral Gables, a small hotel with breakfast included, very good price per night and the best location ever (close to restaurants, parks, the train and public transportation), and rent a car. While there we visit the area with parks and cute restaurants with outside tables...great for an afternoon stroll . We eat in ARIETE, super good ambience. For the vegans, I can recommend two places that my daughter absolutely love in the Miami area: Veganoroma and L'Artisane Creative Bakery. On Saturday 4, we arrive to the port around 3pm, really quick process, where stand up representatives receive the ones with online check in. And onboard we were! Being in Oasis and Allure, Symphony does not feel very different, is big and beautiful. Lets go to the details. Food: The food is great, lots of choices in different venues. Does not eat in any of the specialty restaurants. We enjoy the breakfast in the Windjammer, Solarium, Park Café and the main dinning room. For lunch too, included the Taco Loco venue. All our dinners we go to the Main Dinning Room to our lovely Waiter VIKRAM, and Assistant Waiter ANELYN (in table 242). They go beyond our expectations and requests! My daughters enjoy the vegan menu they have available every night for them, its a great step from Royal Caribbean. We too enjoy the food from the regular menu. SHOWS: I went with high expectations in terms of the Broadway Productions. HAIRSPRAY: I have to say that I enjoy more the one in the Oasis of the seas. The one in Symphony is a bigger production, but the one in Oasis stick better to the story. HIRO: was canceled because of the wind and weather conditions. FLIGHT: Its the history of aviation, a little boring but visually is a beautiful production. 1977: Its a GREAT SHOW skating show, the better I've seen. COMEDY SHOW: Really don't like it, but maybe its something about american humor vs. latin humor. LOVE AND MARRIAGE SHOW: As hilarious as usual. PORTS: Roatan: I have make arrangements to visit the West Bay Beach and Roatan Chocolate Factory through Roatan Taxi Tour. But the day we visit this port was raining (Royal Caribbean cancel all the tours in that port because of the weather). So we stay in the port, I drink a hot and delicious coffee, my daughters buy some things and chocolates. Costa Maya: I make arrangements through Chac Ek Costa Maya, a little local company. Since the moment I contact them through FB, the way they received us in the agreed place, and the whole local experience with Tino and Hugo (the driver) everything exceed our expectations. BACALAR SEVEN COLORS LAGOON is more beautiful than you can imagine or see in pictures. Color perfect, fresh spring waters and spa with natural clay, while enjoying local beer, tequila and snacks. The experience includes a lunch at a really nice taco place, for 3 delicious taquitos, and they even prepare the most delicious avocado for our vegan daughters. Also a quick stop for the sweetest pineapples that grows in the town. A safe and unforgettable experience with great people. Cozumel: We pay for the X-PLOR All Inclusive Royal Caribbean Tour. I would like to share something important about this tour. The group is reunited in the theater, early in the morning. At 7:30 am you will be boarding a ferry, that travel through really brave waters, and will transport the group to Playa del Carmen. When you board they will give you a green bag...and soon you will know why. Lots of people will be around you, throwing up and feeling sick..they get out of the ferry looking like zombies. So, if you have motion sickness beware of this, please. We do not get sick, thank God, but something to take into consideration. Well, once in Playa del Carmen you will be transported in a really big and comfortable bus that will take in a short drive to X-PLOR. We have the time of our lives: 10 ziplines, underground rivers, hybrid car and a delicious buffet with lots of alternatives including one station with only vegan-vegetarian food. This tour is expensive, like $200 per person, but in our opinion it was worth it!!! You will walk a lot, and climb lots of staircases. Coco Cay: Another day with bad weather, rain and cold winds. We can not enjoy this beautiful paradise as we wish, because of this. Some attractions were closed to. The island is still under construction, but it is as beautiful as the pictures. CONCLUSION: We have a great time in Symphony of the Seas, all of us enjoy our vacation, the food, the service, the ports...everything. I love Royal Caribbean, and will continue traveling with them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
RC, thought of everything, and even things I couldn’t have imagined. The ship was breathe taking, I’m ashamed to say I thought I had see it all, but that was the other cruise line you know the one that’s crashes and other illegal ... Read More
RC, thought of everything, and even things I couldn’t have imagined. The ship was breathe taking, I’m ashamed to say I thought I had see it all, but that was the other cruise line you know the one that’s crashes and other illegal things I don’t care to mention. RC has opened my eyes to what a real cruise ship and crew are suppose to look like. I mean the ship amazing, the food amazing, our cabin amazing, activities awesome, there was so much to do. I went to bed exhausted ever night. The captain and his crew amazing, kudos to the active director and all of her great ideas and the magical cruise director making it snow for us. I’m proud to say My Family is officially apart of the RC Family. The cruise line this family will be using from here on out! I’d tike to send a shout out to all the crew that made my family vacation amazing: starting with: Elvis and his riddles everyday, the greeters and staff at the Windjammer, the greeters and the staff at Solarium. I did take pictures of the crewmembers that were great to me. My son and husband couldn’t get enough of the amazing pizza at Sorrentos. There was great shopping deals on the ship. I can’t think of anything that RC could have done to make our vacation any better. Not unless they can control the weather. My husband is planning on next vacation now. We can’t wait. We’ll see you soon!!!!1 Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Although I love RC and have been on 5 cruises with them..... this one missed the mark in my opinion. Service was not as warm & friendly as other RC sailings, food lacked in quality, and the Entertainment Team & Activities team were ... Read More
Although I love RC and have been on 5 cruises with them..... this one missed the mark in my opinion. Service was not as warm & friendly as other RC sailings, food lacked in quality, and the Entertainment Team & Activities team were not visible most of the time. Parties & events/activities started late consistently. The Red Party started late, the morning Zumba in the Promenade, The White Party in Solarium area, Silent Dance Party etc. Pizza was burnt for the most part and floor always wet from drink machine. No one from the events ever apologized for late starts up to 30 mins!! Cruise Directors team never started off dance parties and were basically never present except the first hour while we left Miami. Food at Windjammer was of poor quality & tasteless unlike the Oasis , Liberty, Independence & Majesty. Do not have high expectations if you decide to sail on this ship anytime soon. Unsupervised children were also out of control & RC did nothing to enforce rules in adult areas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We are seasoned cruisers and love Royal Caribbean. This was our first trip on Symphony and I must say, this ship is top of the heap! The Oasis class ships are large and activity laden, but Symphony is the best of the best. Beautiful decor, ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers and love Royal Caribbean. This was our first trip on Symphony and I must say, this ship is top of the heap! The Oasis class ships are large and activity laden, but Symphony is the best of the best. Beautiful decor, amazing shows and music selections, great food and comfortable, roomy cabins. We are Diamond level and the lounge was located near everything, so you could pop in for a drink before dinner or a show with no problem. I must comment that the service on this ship was a level above any others we have been on. Our waiter Antonio and his assistant Ari were the best we've ever had, and that's saying a lot considering all the cruises we have been on. There were 6400 passengers from 60 countries onboard and at no time did we feel crowded. Lots of kids, but that's ok with us. I can't wait to book the Symphony again and bring the grandkids. They will love it!! Main Dining room food is delicious. We wanted to try a Speciality restaurant, but never got around to it. Maybe next time! The shows are spectacular. Hairspray and Flight were our favorites. 1977 is the ice show and it was very good--a little out there, but talented skaters. Hiro was cancelled due to bad wind conditions. So was Perfect Day at Cocoa Cay. I felt sorry for families with kids wanting to do the water park and ocean, but we've been there and will go back. Another day at sea for us is another day in the Casino Royale--so it's all good! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Arrived to parking garage at 9:55. Gave luggage to porter on level 3 and took elevator down and breezed thru and was seated waiting in Key area at 10:10. Super fast. Was 10th person to board ship at 11:02. I booked this cruise a year ... Read More
Arrived to parking garage at 9:55. Gave luggage to porter on level 3 and took elevator down and breezed thru and was seated waiting in Key area at 10:10. Super fast. Was 10th person to board ship at 11:02. I booked this cruise a year out. Did 8D oceanview balcony guarantee. 1st time doing a guarantee but for $699 pp it was worth it. I was in 9724 starboard aft. A long way from the elevators and stairs but the walking does one good. Cabin design was excellent and so much storage space with an open feeling that the space was bigger than it was. Bed was near balcony which I prefer. Gives you more space when getting dressed and using bathroom. Bed was the problem...felt like you were sleeping on a box spring, not a mattress. It was painful to sleep every night, and hurt most of the day. I asked but no bed topper. I did finally sleep the last 2 nights on the sofa which was very firm but better. I have been on 50+ cruises and never has any mattress like this. Need to be replaced and destroyed immediately. Others I spoke with said the same. I have sailed Oasis and Allure both twice so was very familiar with the ship. Ship is beautiful and spotless. We usually cruise while children are in school, so the ship is much quieter, however this cruise has lots of kids. Strollers everywhere. Annoying! Had MTD 5:15 every night. Most nights they opened the doors at 5 on deck 4. Our servers Dante and Jose were fantastic. Food was good, not great. Desserts are always lacking flavor or something...but the carrot cake was delicious. Windjammer breakfast is the worst ever unless you do fresh cheese, meats etc. El loco was decent, if you like Taco Bell food. Had the Key program so had the Chops lunch after we boarded the ship. Got the burger, Mac and Cheese and filet. Only ate half as it was bad. Had deluxe drink package, got my money’s worth. Did the specialty coffees that are included in the drink pkg at Cafe promenade every morning and afternoon. They were great. Shows, had reservations for all. Only used the key seating for Hiro. Great show. Flight was ok. Had plane glitch at end so show was over.1977 got there early enough to get the seats we wanted. This was fantastic! Did the Attic for comedy show. Female comedian was funny. Casino, did my nightly donations, but even non smoking side was bad. Every employee on the ship was very upbeat at friendly at all times. Never a line getting off at ports after they announced the gangway was open. Other than the bed, this Oasis class sailing was the best. Just ordered my memory foam topper from amazon that I will pack in a suitcase for my next cruise. I did take my 13 inch deck fan, how great was that. Can’t sleep at night without white noise and air movement. Debarkation,Walked off ship at 7:03 am and home napping by 10am. The convenience of living in SW Florida. Just booked my next two cruises. Virgin Voyages, Scarlet Lady and MSC Seaside for 2020. I spread my money around the cruise industry. Cheers, happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose Symphony Of The Seas mainly for the fact that it is currently the largest cruise ship in the world, and we really wanted to see Coco Cay which was hyped up to be heavenly... Let me begin with saying that getting on the ship ... Read More
We chose Symphony Of The Seas mainly for the fact that it is currently the largest cruise ship in the world, and we really wanted to see Coco Cay which was hyped up to be heavenly... Let me begin with saying that getting on the ship was super easy once we registered via RC app. The ship itself is really big, and there are many things we enjoyed - zip line, The Abyss, Aqua Theater etc. The cabins are nice and modernised, with a slightly better layout too. We only had food in the Main Dining room one evening, which was ok at best - waiters were super annoying, coming to the table literally every few seconds to ask if all was ok, and talking to us throughout most of the dinner, making sure we could not have a conversation among ourselves, so we hurried with our meal, and went to Windjammer for a coffee! The most annoying part that evening was seeing some of the SAME food there as in the main dining room, which made it a lot less special at that point. Food in Windjammer was great - much better than we expected. We especially enjoyed Indian meals, which were very tasty! We purchased the behind the scenes package which was 90 GBP per person, and to be honest, we expected a lot more from the tour. Yes, we saw some great areas of the ship, our guide was great, very informative and funny, but for instance, the best part was supposed to be the kitchen, and we saw almost nothing - one table full of fruit salads, and from then on just a few members of staff walking around, and chef explaining what happens with food. Very disappointing for the price of the tour. Bionic bar was ok, we first struggled with making the order, as the app wasn't very clear, so then some rude waitress came over and told us basically that we were stupid for not knowing that robot couldn't do whatever we clicked on it to do - even though the options "stir" or "shake" are there after EACH input of a new part of a drink in a cocktail, we should have known that he couldn't do that... in the end, our drinks WERE made, but one glass was half full, as the robot spilt the other half whilst pouring it, and in the other drink, there was no piece of lime we chose (it was dropped as soon as it was picked up)... Full price was charged and we didn't bother returning to bionic bar as it was much easier ordering at the normal bar - at least you would get a full drink you asked for :D We are absolutely against using plastic straws, but my god, please invest in better paper based ones! The ones served with drinks fall apart within few minutes! They literally fall apart! I had to scoop one from the bottom of my pineapple cocktail. In the end I stopped using them altogether as it was more hassle than it was worth. Pool band was TERRIBLE. I think I saw 5 people actually enjoying their music. It was REALLY bad - no pool vibe like on our other cruises, it was like listening to the half dead cat trying to sing. Coco Cay is a beautiful port, however... the junk sold on the island is appalling. Markets in China have better goods! We planned on buying lots of Coco Cay souvenirs - we hoped to find real quality merchandise on the island - towels, clothes etc. Instead, we struggled to find a good magnet! Everything we touched was dusty, dirty, and obviously of no quality whatsoever. Anything that had "Coco Cay" on it wasn't even written with pen or anything, but stuck with the really bad quality sticker, which peeled off immediately. The prices were the highest we had seen anywhere - minimum 10 USD for a broken, crappy quality magnet! We realised there was a tiny kiosk that was supposed to have RC Coco Cay stuff, but we missed seeing what it was like, because it was closed on our way back to the ship. We hoped there was going to be opportunity to get something on the ship, but sadly, nothing. The RC shop on this ship is tiny, and has nothing special in it - not even the usual magnets (blue oval ones which we are collecting)... This time, we didn't even bother with photos much, but the ones we DID buy were hilariously bad... on two of them, such bad photoshop was used that my hair, and my husband's head are see through (!!!) - you can actually see through us! LOL. On another one, there is a black line across my whole face hahahahah - obviously they were not quality checked prior to being delivered to us. We tried contacting RC to at least send us digital formats, to print them at home, but to no avail as yet. Overall,we were pretty disappointed in the end with the whole experience (we are from Croatia, and going to a cruise like this takes a year of planning and saving up), so we gave the NEXT CRUISE a pass this time around. Might try some other companies instead, RC is not what it used to be. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
BACKGROUND Couple in upper 50s went on 7 night Western Caribbean cruise out of Miami on 30 Nov 2019. Stops were San Juan, St. Maarten, and Coco Cay. Seventh cruise with RCI and tenth cruise overall. I'll cover the general topics ... Read More
BACKGROUND Couple in upper 50s went on 7 night Western Caribbean cruise out of Miami on 30 Nov 2019. Stops were San Juan, St. Maarten, and Coco Cay. Seventh cruise with RCI and tenth cruise overall. I'll cover the general topics below and then at the end talk to a couple of issues we encountered. EMBARKATION Arrived at 11:30, was checked in within 15 minutes and ran to Playmakers to watch the Michigan/Ohio State game. The new terminal was fantastic and boarding was the easiest it has ever been. Unfortunately, RCI did not have licensing for the FOX Sports channel and the football game was not available to watch. They had every other game (and all the NFL games on Sunday) but not the most important game of the year! ;-) Ended up watching the game on a phone with a group of Wolverines at a bar table. CABIN Interior at front of ship. Smallest room we have ever had but we let RCI choose the room for a $300 savings. Was totally worth it. We were able to store the bags under the bed as usual and there was more than enough room for all our clothes. THE SHIP Wow. Symphony was great! Shiny and new -- everything seemed fresh. Nicest ship we have ever been on. We have sailed the Allure and Harmony as well but Symphony was just a little nicer. There were some interesting touches along the way such as the piano stair case from deck 15 to 16 and the interactive posters throughout the ship. We also took the "All Access" ship tour and saw the behind-the-scenes workings -- very impressive. SERVICE Best service we ever had on any cruise. Our MDR staff was great (as always) and our cabin steward was the absolute best we have had. Aside from always having our cabin ready, he made the best towel animals we have seen (a turkey, a frog, and a lotus flower). Throughout the ship, the service was outstanding. We had two minor issues on the first day and both were resolved almost immediately. FOOD This was a surprise -- typically we are not thrilled with the food on the ships (although we are not foodies). But this time, the food across the board was the best we have had to date on a cruise (we sail RCI and Princess). In particular, the Horseradish Encrusted Salmon in the MDR was so good that my wife ordered it multiple nights. There was lox (smoked salmon) available every morning with breakfast (without having to ask for it). This was a big change from prior cruises where it was stored in a vault unless asked for. Park Cafe was always good and even the Windjammer seemed better than normal. Only negative I would mention is that there were fewer Indian/vegetarian offerings than in past cruises. ENTERTAINMENT Always good on RCI and was this time as well. Muzik Express was the party band and we have seen them on other sailings and enjoyed their performances in Dazzles. The Hairspray performance was extremely good (great sets and great performers) and we also enjoyed the show Flight. We like live music performance and all the ad-hoc piano players and orchestra performances on board were great. EXCURSIONS We only walked around at San Juan and St. Maarten and both were nothing special. The temps were unusually high and so we were limited in terms of how long we could tolerate the heat. However, once we came north to Coco Cay, all that changed. The temps were in the mid 70s and Coco Cay was fantastic! We were very pleasantly surprised by Coco Cay -- there were plenty of things to do and more importantly, plenty of chairs and umbrellas for the taking. The area is large enough that there was no crowding and everything was clean and beautiful. The food was excellent and the food areas were so large with so many stations, that there were no lines. We would be happy to spend a couple days at Coco Cay if they offered it. The GOTCHAS OK - there were three minor issues that are worth mentioning. None of these took away from the greatness of the trip but are worth noting for future cruisers... (1) First, the Compass (the daily newsletter of activities and times) was not in synch with the Royal App. We showed up for a 9:30 show (per the App) only to learn it was moved an hour later in the Compass. Updating the app should be trivial but no one did it. (2) Second, every time we leave the ship we are told that we need our Sea Pass and another ID. Returning to the ship, we have never been asked for the other ID on prior cruises and we have been conditioned to ignore that. Unfortunately, coming back from San Juan, they wanted to see our Sea Pass and ID and we did not have our IDs with us (but we did have the Sea Pass). After about 2 minutes of "spirited discussion", they let us through to get on the ship. They were only doing their job -- my point here is that if the government ID is REALLY needed (like it was here), there should be an emphasis placed on it so everyone takes it with them. For example, check folks on the way off the ship to make sure they have it or have a sign at the exit emphasizing the need. This is the first time an ID was actually needed in 10 cruises which includes European cruises. (3) Bar staff knowing the menu -- In Dazzles, they offer a drink called the Hennessy Black Bull (Hennessey Black Cognac with a shot of Kahlua and coke filler). It is $13. I ordered the same drink in Schooner Bar (had to explain to the waiter what I wanted) and they charged me twice (once for the Hennessey and once for the Kahlua for a total bill of $26 for one drink. I did not complain since it wasn't worth the effort, but I think it might be useful to offer the same menu across all bars to avoid this kind of confusion. GETTING OFF THE SHIP Zero time getting off the ship. Grabbed our bags, stopped for a picture (they face- recognize you and there are no customs stops) and you are off to your bus to the airport. Easiest in and out on a ship we have ever had. FINAL VERDICT 11/10 -- Best. Cruise. Ever. Can't say enough good things about this ship and cruise! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Symphony of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 4.4
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 5.0 N/A
Family 5.0 4.2
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.5 4.3
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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